Creating a culture of process excellence requires a solid foundation, combining technical infrastructure with a network of people who share common processes and language. Building that foundation and keeping the process culture thriving is a challenge many organizations face.
Now imagine a $24.5B office supply giant with more than 2,200 stores, 90,000 employees, and 7,500 products to manage in each location plus a copy, print, shipping, and tech center to look after. How would you create a process excellence culture in this situation?
Staples did, and their Process Excellence program now has over 400 active projects and has contributed to the bottom line since 2006. In a recent webinar, Cathy Wisniewski, Process Excellence Manager, explained how they did it.
Cathy revealed three pillars for a solid process excellence foundation:
Staples builds Process Excellence awareness through openness, sharing best practices and finding opportunities to replicate success. A thriving community requires networking across the organization through special events designed to educate team members. Staples does this through global, on-site Networking and Continuing Education Programs conducted 3 times a year. Cathy noted that face to face interactions with global colleagues help process excellence teams work better together. Communication tools, such as annual surveys and internal Process Excellence blogs for education and awareness, also help foster a sense of community across a global organization.
For Staples’ Process Excellence culture, it is not enough for senior management to send out a memo or to post scorecards. Process excellence leaders build culture through communication, data, and accountability. Experts who can lead and train their departments and project teams on methods and tools become process excellence evangelists for the rest of the organization. A strong community supports leaders with PPM and communications tools.
Tools for Project Portfolio Management (PPM)
With over 400 projects, 16 Deployment Areas, 70 Black Belts and 80 Green Belts, 11 Black Belt Waves, and 8 Master Black Belts, how does Staples keep track of it all? With
PowerSteering’s solution for Project and Portfolio Management. Or, as Cathy puts it, “PowerSteering for the people!” To be successful, a process excellence community requires information transparency so that everyone is aware and on track. Visible data helps Staples ensure project accountability. PPM tools like PowerSteering allow firms to roll up project data into open dashboards, scorecards, and reports, without requiring a lot of time to aggregate and validate information. Perhaps most importantly, reliable data about project results allows financial leaders to validate the value of the Process Excellence program, helping build executive support and ensure ongoing investment.
The Staples experience demonstrates that building a Process Excellence Culture globally takes time, and more importantly, a commitment to openness and collaboration. PPM tools like PowerSteering Software help enable this community. It takes the commitment of people like Cathy to bring it to life.